BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Colorado Wine Board announced that Governor Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg have requested USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to issue a Disaster Declaration due to the extensive damage to vitis vinifera grapevines in Colorado’s Grand Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) and in the adjacent counties of Delta and Montrose resulting from the record-setting, single-digit low temperatures October 25-27, 2020.
“As Governor, I am requesting a USDA Secretarial Disaster Declaration for Colorado’s Western Slope counties impacted by the freeze event. A disaster declaration is necessary to access critical programs and assistance needed by our producers,” stated Governor Polis.
A survey of the damage in the Grand Valley by Colorado State University has concluded that a minimum crop loss of 70% has occurred due to this event and losses of up to 100% are possible before the survey is completed. The vitis vinifera grape varieties, the familiar European wine grape species, account for approximately 87% of Colorado’s grape production. Damage to the cold-tolerant, inter-specific grape varieties, making up the other 13% of Colorado’s grape production, has been reported in Delta and Montrose Counties where temperatures got even colder than in the Grand Valley AVA (Mesa County).
Colorado’s Western Slope produces pears, apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, and peaches among other agricultural products. Wine grapes alone total approximately 1,000 acres, serving as the foundation for the total economic impact from wine production and wine tourism of $300 million and contributing to more than 1,600 jobs.
“Although this could mean the 2021 harvest will be reduced, our grape growers are coming off several years of record setting crops, which will hopefully carry them through this lean period,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.
About the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board
The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board is an agency of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, dedicated to promoting and furthering the development of Colorado’s grape growers and approximately 140 wineries. For additional information, visit www.coloradowine.com.
— Colorado Department of Agriculture
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